3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Please, Rob, get a co-writer!,
This review is from: James Brother Of Jesus A Key To Unlocking The Secrets Of Early (Hardcover)Man alive, is this book poorly written. I was drawn to it by its scholarly pose and its revolutionary subject matter, but now rather than call him a rebel or a scholar I'd just say he's a long-winded crank.
I was prepared to do some heavy slogging, understand. I wasn't put off by dense prose. But the man can torture sentence structure like nobody's business. I even bookmarked one page, which had a sentence I couldn't find a verb in for the life of me. I would show it to friends, asking them, "It's not just me, right? That sentence has no verb?" They all agreed. Usually, though, while he may lead a precarious trail through innumerable clauses and parenthetical phrases, he does construct actual sentences; that's not the main problem. The main problem is that he feels the need to repeat himself incessantly. Let me give an example. Here's a simple story: I needed grapes. I went to the store. I had to use a credit card because I didn't have cash. I came home and ate my grapes. Now, here's that story the Robert Eisenman way: I needed grapes. Needing grapes, I went to the store where they sold grapes, which I needed. The need for grapes prompted an understandable need for cash for the needed grapes, but cash for needed grapes was not to be had, and, needed or not, needed grapes were of paramount importance, and I needed them, the grapes, which I needed. Thus, inevitably, the need for grapes being on my mind, I found myself using a credit card for the purchase (the purchase the importance of which centered on grapes) of grapes, which I had sought to buy earlier with cash, out of a need that has been previously stated but cannot be stressed enough, which was a need for grapes. Since I could not eat grapes in the store no matter how much I needed them, I took the grapes to my home, and, having passed the episode of needing grapes and initiated the epoch of actual grape consumption, I could only reflect on the need I had had, the grape need, the need for grapes, the grapes which had become posessed by me through the process of a feeling attached to grapes, a feeling related to grapes but not a feeling I could call "grape," inasmuch as that would be confusing a feeling with the object of that feeling, which may appeal to some Eastern perspectives but in a Judeo-Christian context is out of place, therefore the grape-centric emotionality had to be named a non-grape name, and I called it need.
...except he's worse. Anyway, it's a darn shame, because the subject matter is fascinating. The approach makes a lot of sense: since we can assume everything said about Jesus to be biased, we may be able to learn more about him by looking at the writings on his brother, James, as historical accounts of him would be less under pressure to conform to dogma. The book made me want to sit down and re-write it, because I enoyed the original thinking I encountered every fifth page. Seriously, without all the repetition, this book would be the size of Cat's Cradle.
I would wait for someone else to synthesize his views and read that. I tried to push myself through this book, but after about halfway, I started using it as a mousepad.
The author gravely needs to have someone else organize his writing. His points, when I could see them through the tangled syntax, were compelling, but if he wishes to communicate, he must find a love of brevity.